27-09-2001

The front pages of all Czech newspaper are still dominated by the aftermath of the terrorist attacks on the United States more than two weeks ago. Most of the papers carry photographs of Afghans destroying the long-abandoned US embassy in Kabul.

Mlada fronta Dnes obtained information that several Czech citizens have been working for Osama bin Laden's terrorist network. The paper quotes a report presented by the Russian intelligence service to the United Nations earlier this year, which said that bin Laden had 55 bases and offices throughout Afghanistan with more than 13 thousand staff, including an unspecified number of Czechs.

The Czechs reportedly worked at a well-protected training camp in the province of Logar, south of Kabul. However, the Czech authorities have no information about such activities and the Czech ambassador to Pakistan deemed the contents of the reports as disinformation, writes Mlada fronta Dnes.

The business daily Hospodarske noviny comments on the Czech Republic's active participation in fighting international terrorism. The country is not setting up a special unit armed to the teeth, but is looking for ways to cut information and financial channels that help terrorist organisations survive. Exactly a week after the terrorist attacks, the Czech Republic adopted a new law that makes it possible to freeze bank accounts of people suspected of being involved with or of supporting terrorism.

The paper points out that the terms used in connection with dubious business activities, such as "dirty money", "money laundering", and "grey economy" no longer suffice for describing the reality. A new category has emerged, that is "clean" money used for financing dirty activities, and this is something that the civilised world must fight as well, writes Hospodarske noviny.

Today's Pravo quotes the head of the Czech intelligence service Jiri Ruzek as saying that there is no imminent danger of terrorist attacks against the Czech Republic's interests. But however small the chance of a terrorist attack, it can never, Pravo writes, be ruled out altogether.

Czech security experts told Pravo that a potential misuse of crop planes as a means of dispersing lethal chemicals does not pose a major threat to the Czech Republic as they can be easily identified and can only be harmful on a local scale. Experts see a far more serious problem in the panic that is likely to break out in case of such an attack.

27-09-2001